Funeral music

Forget hymns like “Abide With Me”, “Amazing Grace” and “Jerusalem” the next time you attend a funeral, because you’re more likely to hear Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” or the theme song from the Benny Hill television show.

A survey of 30,000 funerals conducted last year found that hymns were now the most popular requests at only 35% of services. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra was the most popular, followed by “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler and “Time To Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.

“You Raise Me Up” by Westlife and “Angels” by Robbie Williams made the top 10, while X Factor winner Alexandra Burke’s “Hallelujah” was at number 26 only months after topping the Christmas chart.

Lorinda Sheasby, of Co-operative Funeralcare, said the findings indicated that tastes are changing, with television programs and chart hits influencing people’s choices.

“Today’s tear-jerking chart topper is extremely unlikely to be tomorrow’s funeral classic but it’s quite possible it will figure highly in the months or even years to come.”

On the downside, priests reject one in 10 requests, including those for AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” and “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. Even further on the downside is that some requests are for theme songs from soap operas.

People must be awfully dull round here because I hardly ever get asked for anything like the above. My biggest problem just now is that Dad is requesting Courage Brother, Do Not Stumble. Quite. Have you ever heard it?

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12 thoughts on “Funeral music

  1. Last two Pisky funerals I went to both had “wind beneath my wings” so maybe you do just have deceaseds with conservative tastes. I would agree with your Dad and then choose something you like at the time. If there’s no afterlife it doesn’t matter and if you do meet up on a higher plane he will presumably forgive you!

  2. Courage brother do not stumble OH YES. I do not think that it is possible that Kelvin and I have ever sung this at the same time but it is still ‘On the list’. A singing trio Ruth for Kimberlys installation at Dunblane. Change the word brother to sister?

    With regard to music for funerals one that springs to mind recently was ‘Red Red Wine’. ‘Always look on the bright side’ is very popular and normaly played as one departs from the crem.

    One of the reasons that Clergy are not being asked, sadly, to take funerals is because they, the Clergy, will not let the family and friends have what they want. This is why funeral celebrants , and I am one,are taking more and more funerals.

    The only truly sad funerals are Humanist funerals. I have yet to take one of these and have any sense of satisfaction for the family or participents. 90% of the funerals that FCs take have a religous/spiritual content.

  3. Well if you’re all going to come and help with the singing Dad can have his wish granted.

    And nothing wrong with that Queen song, Tim. Tempted myself. But my funeral hymn/song list is up at about 34 at the moment so not sure where we could squeeze it in!

  4. There is absolutely no doubt that I have sung Courage Brother Do Not Stumble with Zebedee, though not recently. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that I’ve never sung it whilst not being in his company.

    Ruth, do you hear confessions? I know that you do.

    You see, the thing is, whilst we are on the subject of Bette Midler, I have to confess that I’ve never seen Beaches. I know that can’t be right. Can you advise?

  5. Oh dearie me, Kelvin. I cannot believe that you, a self-confessed gay man, have never seen Beaches. This is outrageous. I shall put it in the post to you today. Call it your penance if you like, but watch it you must.

  6. “Courage Brother Do Not Stumble with Zebedee,” – that must have been an episode of the Magic Roundabout I missed.

  7. My short list:
    Loving Shepherd
    O Love that wilt not let me go
    Love’s Redeeming Work is done
    Father Hear the Prayer We Offer

  8. or how about…
    I heard the voice of Jesus say
    Be still my soul
    Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
    Jesu lover of my soul
    Soul of my Saviour
    God is my strength and refuge (to go out to!)

    I could go on…

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